The Charter of the Higher Education Leadership Communication Council

The Members

College and university leaders have to succeed in overlapping domains: the worlds of education and scholarship; thought leadership; public/private partnership; research and innovation; arts and culture; local, national and geopolitics; philanthropy; legislative and regulatory affairs; and athletic boosterism to name a few. And to do so they have to overcome major demographic, economic and climate challenges. 

Strategic, effective and human communication is an essential component of success. And so higher education leaders are increasingly turning to executive communications professionals as their close counselors and collaborators. 

Through the Higher Education Leadership Communication Council, a group of experienced, devoted professionals are working together to define our field, cultivate ethical practice and advance both the art and science of leadership communications, ensuring that our leaders can serve the interests of students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public at large. 

The Mission

The Higher Education Leadership Communication Council exists to meet the essential needs of a professional discipline that has the opportunity to exemplify the transformative power of higher education and to prepare people to support democracy. We aim to: 

  1. Clarify the role and value of the higher education executive communications professional with emphasis on their role as a trusted and strategic advisor. 
  2. Create a framework for communicating in highly charged political environments, so that leaders can meet the demands of the times while defending the enduring personal, civic and societal value of their institutions and higher education overall. 
  3. Collect or produce data that adds detail to our understanding of effective leadership communications in higher education. 
  4. Guide the development of our nascent field, including nurturing and diversifying the next generation of professionals. 

What Success Will Look Like

  • Supporting each other, through a cohort of close colleagues who offer advice and encouragement as we tackle thorny communications problems and explore potential innovations. 
  • Making the executive communications function an integral element of our institutions’ leadership strategy, which requires partnership, input, and feedback. 
  • Turning often ad hoc practices into disciplined leadership communications functions for the profession as a whole. We want to provide useful toolkits and thought leadership materials that support new leaders and fellow executive communication professionals across the sector. 
  • Leveraging the moment. In a society in crisis, educators and scholars should be among the most respected and influential voices in thought leadership. Our goal is to equip them to take full advantage of their global platforms, and to defend themselves and our institutions against ideological attack. 
  • Creating a pipeline for the profession, by offering and advocating for professional development and by encouraging advances in the field. This includes looking for ways to support institutions without the resources to fund a dedicated executive communications position. 
  • Diversifying the profession, welcoming multiple voices into the field and thereby enriching the vocabulary of higher education leadership and leadership communications.